The Enneagram is Still Alive and Well in U.S. Catholic Parishes, In Spite of Church Warnings!

SK writes: “I have been seeing a catholic social worker at CSS. Years ago he did a personality test from the Enneagram and gave me literature to read. Also scripture to look up that correspond to certain characteristics I want to change. He is a deacon, I would think he would not have recommenced this if it was no spiritually good for me……… please comment.”

I’m not surprised that the Enneagram was introduced to you in a Catholic organization. According to Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J. of EWTN, at one time this bizarre occult instrument was being taught in U.S. seminaries – which is where he first encountered it!

You can read more about the Enneagram here, but I would like to specifically address your question as to how a Deacon could recommend this if it was not spiritually good for you.

Only the Deacon can say why he did so, but the enneagram is definitely not spiritually good for you. According to “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life,” written by the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Interreligious Dialogue: “The enneagram, the nine-type tool for character analysis, which when used as a means of spiritual growth, introduces an ambiguity in the doctrine and the life of the Christian faith” (Section 1.4).

Perhaps the Deacon was not yet aware of the problems surrounding this personality typing system at the time that he introduced you to it. Or maybe he says what many others do when confronted about the enneagram who respond to the Pontifical statement by saying they’re not using it for spiritual direction.

At any rate, according to Fr. Pacwa, you should be aware that no tests,  standards, or board of examination exists for the enneagram, so most users have that title through self-declaration and workshop advertising.

“People do not go to doctors and psychologists unless that practitioner is tested and licensed,” Fr. Pacwa writes in Catholics and the New Age. “Should not some similar requirement be made of Enneagram teachers, who not only explain what your personality is like, but make recommendations about what you should be like? Until such verification of the enneagram occurs, resulting in ways to discern who has enneagram expertise, I recommend that people not patronize the workshops, seminars and retreats.”

Our Learn to Discern booklet series includes a booklet on the Enneagram which goes into much greater detail about the occult origins and inappropriate use of this device. If the Deacon is still using the Enneagram (which is certainly the case at many parishes throughout the country) you may want to pass this along for his prayerful consideration. In fact, this is precisely what the booklet was designed for.

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